On most Wednesdays in the cramped quarters of Legal Aid of Western Missouri’s West Office, you will find retired judge Arthur Federman interviewing applicants.
The applicants are immigrants who are candidates for United States Citizenship.
The theme of lawful immigration has been a constant in Federman’s life. His parents survived the Holocaust, immigrated to Kansas City in 1951 and became naturalized citizens. As a federal judge for the United States Bankruptcy Court Western District of Missouri for 28 years, one of the judge’s favorite duties was presiding over naturalization ceremonies, watching immigrants take the oath that his parents once took.
Legal Aid’s pro bono program, the Volunteer Attorney Project (VAP), allows Federman to maintain his passion.
Federman is one of several retired attorneys giving back through VAP and its Second Season at Law program. Like other Second Season members, the program’s flexibility allows Federman to choose the days and hours he wants to volunteer, giving him plenty of time to enjoy other aspects of retirement.
Prior to retiring in 2017, Federman met with the VAP program director to learn more about the program’s pro bono opportunities. After discussing available options, he chose to help in an area of law where his heart lies — assisting those who seek a fresh start in the United States.
Federman generally comes to the office once a week to assist Legal Aid staff in preparing immigration cases, researching complicated areas of the law or consulting with potential clients. He also participates in Legal Aid’s mini citizenship information clinics.
“Just remarkable! Legal Aid is truly fortunate to have retired Judge Art Federman so freely give of his time and talent in his retirement to those who could not otherwise afford his expertise,” says Joseph Dandurand, Executive Director of Legal Aid. “Judge Federman is a shining example for all of a public servant who goes above and beyond the call to continue to serve.”
VAP’s Second Season program provides a variety of opportunities and benefits for retired attorneys. For more information about the program, contact Latricia Scott Adams at firstname.lastname@example.org.